Child Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse (also referred to as sexual assault) can be experienced by anyone. When a child experiences sexual assault, it is commonly referred to as child sexual abuse. Many adult survivors have found common factors in their experiences, including:
- They were usually abused by someone they know
- The abuse often started when they were very young
- The abuse was generally not an isolated one-off incident and happened over many months or years
- The abuse was often accompanied by threats and verbal, or emotional abuse, and sometimes physical violence
Parents Protect is a dedicated child sexual abuse prevention and awareness website to help caring adults protect children and young people. The site is a useful resource providing information, guidance and resources.
It also offers an online learning programme enabling you to learn about the issues at your own pace and aims to:
- Give you the information you need about child sexual abuse
- Show you how to create a family safety plan
- Tell you who you can talk to if you are worried
Getting informed and seeking help and advice are the first steps to preventing or addressing issues around child sexual abuse.
The NSPCC advises teaching your child the Underwear Rule to help protect them from abuse. The Underwear Rule is a simple way that parents can help keep children safe from sexual abuse – without using scary words or even mentioning sex. They have also added an Underwear Rule video to help protect deaf children from abuse.
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
Child Sexual Exploitation is another form of abuse that affects thousands of children and young people across the UK every year. It is an illegal activity by people who have power over young people and use it to sexually abuse them.
This can involve a broad range of exploitation, from seemingly ‘consensual’ relationships and informal exchanges of sex for attention, accommodation, gifts, cigarettes and drugs and alcohol, through to very serious organised crime.
As a parent or carer, it is often hard to tell the difference between difficult teenage behaviour and the signs of child sexual exploitation. The more information you have about the dangers and risks that children may face the better equipped you’ll be to keep them safe.
A number of resources are now available to parents/carers and the following may help you develop your understanding of CSE and the steps you can take to support children/young people and how to seek help when it’s necessary.
- Parents Against Child Sexual Exploitation (Pace) and the Safeguarding Children e-Academy have teamed up to provide a short online course specifically designed for parents and carers.
- Barnardos have produced a leaflet for parents and carers and a leaflet for young people to help them spot the signs of sexual exploitation or register for a free online course (20-30 mins). Further support and information for parents is available at Pace UK and Parents Protect who also have a leaflet for parents and carers on preventing sexual exploitation.
If you think that a child or young person may be at risk of child sexual exploitation, please contact Children’s Social Care or the Police straight away on 01344 352005 or 101 (if this is an immediate danger please call 999).
For further information see Bracknell Forest Council's guidance on child protection.
PACE have also written Keeping it Together, which can be found on The Pace website ( http://paceuk.info/for-professionals/publications/ )
a booklet for parents whose children are being sexually exploited by an individual or group of adults outside of the family unit.
Further documents can be found under Child Sexual Exploitation on the Links and Publications page (from Bracknell Forest Local Safeguarding Children Board).
Safer Places Scheme
The scheme provides a number of local shops, businesses and amenities within Bracknell Forest that people can access for support if they are feeling anxious, intimidated, unsafe, disorientated, confused or vulnerable in the community.
Anywhere with the logo in the window is a Safe Place and can be accessed for help as above. Further information about this can be found at https://www.bracknell-forest.gov.uk/safe-place-scheme/what-safe-place-scheme